Fordata language

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Native toIndonesia
RegionTanimbar Islands
Native speakers
50,000 (2000)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3frd

Fordata (Vai Fordata, Vai Tnebar) is an Austronesian language spoken in the Tanimbar Islands of the Moluccas. It is closely related to Kei, and more distantly to Yamdena, both also spoken in the Tanimbar Islands.[2]



Labial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ ⟨ng⟩
Plosive voiceless k ʔ ⟨'⟩
voiced b d
Fricative voiceless f s h
voiced v
Lateral l
Trill r
Semivowel w j ⟨y⟩
  • Glottal sounds /h ʔ/ only occur intervocalically.
  • /v/ can often be heard as [w] among younger speakers.
  • /r/ can also be heard in free variation with a flap sound [ɾ].


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a
  • Sounds /i e/ have lax sounds of [ɪ ɛ]
  • /a/ can have an allophone of [ə] when before a consonant, or in word-final position.[3]


  1. ^ Fordata at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Mills, Roger F. (1991). "Tanimbar-Kei: An Eastern Indonesian Subgroup". In Robert Blust (ed.). Currents in Pacific Linguistics: Papers on Austronesian Languages and Ethnolinguistics in Honour of George W. Grace. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 241–263.
  3. ^ Marshall, Craig (2000). "A Phonological Description of Fordata". In Grimes, C. E. (ed.). Spices from the East: Papers in Languages of Eastern Indonesia. PL-503. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. pp. 181–235. doi:10.15144/PL-503.181.

External links[edit]